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‘His tact and pacing, in the individual sentence and the overall story are beautiful … McLaverty’s place in our literature is secure.’ Seamus Heaney

It is 1918 and thirteen-year-old Colm MacNeill is living happily on Rathlin Island when his security is suddenly shattered by the death of his father. The loss of the family breadwinner forces the MacNeills to leave their island home to make a life for themselves in the city. On the streets of Belfast Colm and his brothers enjoy a different kind of freedom – childhood adventures that run late into the evening, games that last for days and friendly tussles make life in the city a new kind of liberation.

The sense of freedom is, however, short-lived. As sectarian violence erupts in Belfast – and Colm’s brother gets involved in the IRA – the MacNeills become unavoidably and tragically caught up in the Troubles of the early 1920s.

Acknowledged as a classic of Irish writing, Call My Brother Back is a beautifully written novel by a writer who has been compared to both Chekhov and Joyce. If you enjoyed this, you might also enjoy Michael McLaverty’s novel Lost Fields or his critically acclaimed Collected Short Stories.

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